Ownership Group from left to right: Mr. Jan R. Cook, Adam Cook, Amy Cook, Dave Alexander and Steve Cook.

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1 OVER OUR HISTORY, WE VE WORKED HARD TO BUILD A STRONG RAPPORT WITH OUR CLIENTS AND MANY OF OUR ORIGINAL CLIENTS STILL WORK WITH US TO THIS DAY. Ownership Group from left to right: Mr. Jan R. Cook, Adam Cook, Amy Cook, Dave Alexander and Steve Cook. CREDIT BUREAU SERVICES CANADA A spirit of innovation and strong family values have turned Niagara-based firm into one of Canada s leading collection agencies. BY SCOTT LESLIE T here s a reason why Credit Bureau Services Canada has been in business for nearly 80 years. As one of Canada s most influential collections services and receivable management firms, their team has been building relationships with their clients based on trust. We re a one stop shop for all our clients collection agency and customer contact needs, says Adam Cook, Vice-President, Client Services at Credit Bureau Services Canada. We service thousands of clients locally and nationally. But we also work closely with them and are always looking after their best interests and that level of trust goes a long way. Credit Bureau Services Canada (CBSCanada) serves many types of clients including utilities and public institutions, municipalities and regional governments, health care facilities, credit card and financial institutions. They also handle national entertainment groups and retail corporations and service over a thousand small businesses and medical practices across Niagara and throughout Canada. Many companies are outsourcing their receivables these days, Adam explains. But by hiring our team to take care of their receivables, companies can focus on business development and increase their revenues in the process. We also add to their bottom-line by collecting their receivables and providing an exceptional rate of recovery. by hiring our team to take care of their receivables, companies can focus on business development and increase their revenues in the process... A Tradition of Success CBSCanada is owned and operated by the Cook family but the company s roots go all the way back to 1932 when the firm was originally known as the Credit Bureau of St. Catharines. John C. Cook started working for the modest credit bureau in 1945, and spent several decades managing and building the credit bureau brand before buying the firm in John s son, Jan R. Cook, started with the company in 1968, and purchased it from his father in (Jan continues to serve as President.) In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the firm went through a period of growth and renewal. The company relocated its offices to 26 Queen Street, St. Catharines and began to reposition itself as a national services provider. According to Adam, his father Jan was instrumental in expanding the company s mandate at the time. Up until that time, we were essentially a collections agency serving the Niagara area, Adam says. But my father realized that if we wanted to continue growing as a company, we needed to move into areas like fulfillment and call centre services, and offer our clients an even greater range of solutions. That s when we began to transform ourselves from a local firm into a truly national operation. In recent years, the firm has moved into its third generation of family ownership. Jan s children Adam, Steve (Vice-President, Operations), and Amy (Director) have all become shareholders. Jan s cousin David Alexander also serves with CBSCanada as Vice-President, Finance & Administration, and has 8 THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER MAY 2010

2 Employees who have been with CBSC for 25 years plus. been a shareholder since According to Adam, his family s vision has remained consistent from generation to generation and that makes a big difference when they re serving their clientele. We have a strong reputation as one of the most fair, progressive and highly respected collection services partners in Canada, he says. Over our history, we ve worked hard to build a strong rapport with our clients and many of our original clients still work with us to this day. A Spirit of Innovation CBSCanada has always offered the tradition of a family business. But they also provide the vision and technical capabilities of a nationwide firm. Their team continues to use the most effective collection techniques and cuttingedge technology on the market today. For the past two decades or so, we ve been investing in new technologies to help increase our range of services, Adam says. As a result, our client partnerships now include dozens of regional, provincial and national organizations. One of their firm s most innovative offerings is through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or automated customer contact service. With this technology-based platform and professionally recorded messaging service, CBSCanada can process literally thousands of automatic telephone contacts for their clients every day. Many of the automated calls are for rental companies to remind their customers when rental product is due. IVR service is a great way for organizations to get the word out whether it s making announcements, sending out reminders or performing surveys, Adam says. We currently average over 70,000 customer Their team continues to use the most effective collection techniques and cutting-edge technology on the market today. touches per day and our clients are thrilled with the efficiency and cost-savings to their organization. Whether they re serving consumer or commercial clients, CBSCanada can customize their services to suit their clients specific needs. For instance, their firm developed a notification system for colleges and universities that enabled them to send out automated calls to their students in good standing. This service allows post-secondary institutions to remind students of important due dates for tuition and other fees. We pride ourselves on going that extra mile for our clients, Adam says. Our team can manage our clients receivables department, and provide various client recovery services including many transparent pre-collection services. Our policy of no collection no charge also ensures that our clients receivables are dealt with in a timely and effective manner. When it comes to call services, CBSCanada s call centre is designed to supplement their clients inbound or outbound customer service and provide the utmost in personal customer contact and care. Open year round 24 hours per day, 7 days per week their call centre team can handle overflow and peak periods. CBSCanada assigns highlyskilled and trained professionals to each of their client portfolios. They can even provide multilingual services for companies that have specific language requirements. CBSCanada also provides fulfillment services such as pre-collection letters that allow their clients to outsource their mailroom activities. Over the years, this service has proven ideal for marketing, promotions or any type of customer contact that requires letter-shop and mailing services. Continued on page 10 MAY THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER 9

3 Amy Cook & Stephanie Alexander at CBSC Recognition Evening. Continued from page 9 We can handle our clients receivables in whole or in part whatever works best for them, Adam explains. By allowing our professionals to work on their receivables, our clients can stay focused on developing their business. As a result, our clients can experience lower costs and achieve better results. A Passion for People At CBSCanada, one of the biggest reasons behind their continued success is their staff continuity. According to Jan, the Cooks are extremely proud of their low rate of staff turnover which helps to provide stability to both the company and the client. The real strength of our company has always been our people, he explains. We do our best to keep our firm running like a tight-knit family, and treat our employees well because we want them to build a career here. They re really pivotal to our success. CBSCanada currently has 45 employees and many of them have been with the company for 20 years or more. To Jan, their staff loyalty is a real rarity in their industry, not to mention the world at large. We re committed to doing the right thing for our clients, he says. And having people that are excited about coming to work every morning goes a long way towards helping us achieve that goal. Every year, the firm holds their Employee Recognition Awards that highlight their employees achievements at work and in the community. They also hold several employee events and help their staff with life/work issues. The Cook family has clearly created a warm, friendly, and dynamic atmosphere at CBSCanada in a highly competitive industry. It s one that clearly makes a favourable having people that are excited about coming to work every morning goes a long way towards helping us achieve that goal. impression with their employees. We ve grown and diversified over the years, Jan says. But there s always been a real consistency here. We go out of our way to let our employees know how much we appreciate them, and that can make a big difference when they re serving our clients. Our rate of recovery speaks for itself. A Commitment to Community CBSCanada as a company has been active in numerous charitable causes over the years. Every year, their employees take part in charities like the United Way and the Big Bike Ride a fundraising event for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Over the years, Jan has been a particularly strong community advocate, playing a significant leadership role with many major fundraising initiatives in Niagara such as the St. Catharines General Hospital Breakthrough Niagara Health Care Campaign and Alzheimer Society Niagara Capital Campaign. He acted as fundraising chair for the Seymour-Hannah Sports & Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines. Jan is currently the North Niagara Campaign Co-chair of the Niagara Health System s It s Our Time Campaign that s raising monies for the new NHS Health-Care Complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre. He is the current chair of the Community Leaders Foundation. Jan s contributions have also made a significant impact on many local charities such as Community Care and the Y.M.C.A. According to Adam, his father has always had a deep passion for the Niagara community and for helping those less fortunate than himself. My grandfather, John, was very thoughtful when it came to family and community, he says. But my father has taken John s beliefs to another level. 10 THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER MAY 2010

4 Jan R. Cook presents Manager Sandy Harper 30 year plaque. He treats everyone with dignity and respect and believes we all need to contribute if we want to make our community a better place. And the third generation of the Cook family has taken their father s vision to heart. Adam has coached the Niagara Spears Varsity Football Club for many years and has played key roles with the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation and is the current Vice- President of the St. Catharines Business Club. His brother Steve is Past President of the St. Catharines Business Club and coaches high school football at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. He s also very active with the St. Catharines Thorold Chamber of Commerce where he is a Past President, and currently on the Board of Directors. Amy is also an active board member of the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation and is involved with many of their major fundraising initiatives. With the Cook family, getting involved with their community doesn t just make good business sense. we ve stood the test of time. We have thousands of customers, clients and partners out there that value our services because we help them to be successful. That s the way it s always been. It makes good sense period. If you want to make a real difference in people s lives, you need to step forward and lead by example, Adam says. That means giving something back to the community that supports you, and our family is committed to doing just that. Looking to the Future The CBSCanada team is always striving to improve itself, whether it s through staff training programs or investing in new technologies. But CBSCanada is also looking ahead to the future. We have the ability to offer our clients the solutions they need and that s one of our core strengths, Adam explains. But we want to continue expanding and diversifying our services. We re seeking new opportunities and strategic business partnerships all the time and we re always looking for great people. For nearly 80 years, CBSCanada has been Continued on page 12 MAY THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER 11

5 CBSC Management & staff Continued from page 11 serving key clients nationally. But their Niagara roots remain strong and that s never going to change. The industry is always changing, Adam says. But we ve stood the test of time. We have thousands of customers, clients and partners out there that value our services because we help them to be successful. That s the way it s always been. As the Cooks look ahead to the potential of future generations getting involved with the business, their youngest brother Gavin has committed himself to building a career at CBSCanada after he completes his education at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and attends law school. We re all very excited about the future of CBSCanada, Jan adds. We re really looking forward to continuing the family tradition. Contact Information Credit Bureau Services Canada 26 Queen St, P.O. Box 186 St. Catharines, ON telephone toll free facsimile toll free fax Fast Facts: Credit Bureau Services Canada The firm was originally founded in CBSCanada has been owned and operated by the Cook family since CBSCanada offers collection agency and customer contact services to thousands of businesses across the Niagara Region and throughout Canada. 12 THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER MAY 2010

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